Lesson 7 – Handouts

Organization of the Psalms

(Summary adapted from various parts of RTS lecture notes
Judges to Poets, Bruce Waltke 2004)

Note: Some of these things, like the introduction and conclusion are more generally acknowledged, others are more widely debated.

Psalms 1-2: Introduction to the book of Psalms
Psalm 1 introduces general theme
Psalm 2 introduces idea of Davidic kingship

Book I—Psalms 3-41 The trust of David
Psalms 3, 41 (first & last Psalms of book one) Affirms the trust of the king
in the face of enemies

Book II—Psalms 42-72 (Continued from book I)
Psalm 72 (Last Psalm in book II) Prayer for the king’s son to rule justly &
to be blessed in his reign

Book III—Psalms 73-89 Collapse of David’s Dynasty
Psalm 73 Reflection on the earthly triumph of the wicked vs. ultimate end
Psalm 89 Grief over the seeming collapse of the Davidic Kingship

Book IV—Psalms 90-106 There is still Hope!
Psalm 90 Moses—God is King, angry with his people over their sin
Psalm 106 Plea for God to gather his scattered people (106:47)

Book V—Psalms 107-144 The Proper Response of the Exiles
Psalm 107, 114, 135: Remember God’s great acts of deliverance
Psalm 119: Obey God’s Law
Psalm 110, 118: Hope in the Messiah to Come

Psalms 145-150: Conclusion—Let all the earth praise God the King! (145:21)


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